EG 254: God Working With Non-Christians

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, speaks of the “justification” of non-Christians. Do you buy it?

254. Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live “justified by the grace of God”,[International Theological Commission, Christianity and the World Religions (1996), 72: Enchiridion Vaticanum 15, No. 1061] and thus be “associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ”.[Ibid.] But due to the sacramental dimension of sanctifying grace, God’s working in them tends to produce signs and rites, sacred expressions which in turn bring others to a communitarian experience of journeying towards God.[Cf. ibid., 81-87] While these lack the meaning and efficacy of the sacraments instituted by Christ, they can be channels which the Holy Spirit raises up in order to liberate non-Christians from atheistic immanentism or from purely individual religious experiences. The same Spirit everywhere brings forth various forms of practical wisdom which help people to bear suffering and to live in greater peace and harmony. As Christians, we can also benefit from these treasures built up over many centuries, which can help us better to live our own beliefs.

This kind of thinking, even if it does come from a Catholic theological commission, might be troubling to some believers. Does the Holy Spirit work in non-believers? Do Christians have something to learn from the “practical wisdom” mentioned? I suppose we have to accept that Thomas Aquinas utilized a pagan philosopher, and the result–scholasticism, was a primary theological movement of the second millennium.

About these ads

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Evangelii Gaudium, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s